Cycling diet, next to training and recovery, is one of the most important factors that affect the results of competition. Cycling is an endurance sport, so it is useful to know what gives you energy on the course. During training the cyclist’s heart rate during the race remains at a medium to high level. Only on the uphill stretches, the finish and during the breakaway, the cyclist’s effort reaches the highest intensity or even the maximum of his possibilities.
Characteristics of the effort
During the aerobic effort, the basic source of energy for the working muscles of the cyclist is glycogen contained in muscles, liver and blood. Unfortunately, its resources are very limited and are sufficient only for 1.5-2 hours of riding. In order not to reduce your performance during training or competitions, you need to provide your body with carbohydrates in an easily digestible form, i.e. in the form of simple sugars such as glucose and dextrose.
Balanced diet for a cyclist
The effectiveness of exercise is affected not only by breakfast before training, but also by what we eat throughout the day. The diet of a cyclist should be dominated by carbohydrates. However, in order to ensure the proper work of the body, recovery and protection of muscles after training, as well as proper nerve conduction, it is also necessary to take care of other nutrients, vitamins and minerals. In a balanced diet, approximately for 1 g of protein there should be 1 g of fat and 4 g of carbohydrates, the levels of which are optimally in the range: 600-800 g/day. When planning your diet, it is advisable to consult the dietary recipes prepared by a professional sports nutritionist. For your own psychological comfort, you should also remember about diversification. Diet does not have to be a sterile sentence for our palate.
Rice with shrimps and vegetables is an example of a dish rich in carbohydrates and supplemented with protein and vitamins from plants
What to eat before workout?
A meal eaten a couple of hours before exercise will ensure that we go to training with the right amount of energy. Thanks to that we will be able to give more of ourselves, overtaking our friend or riding up the local hill as the first one.
When asking ourselves what to eat before a cycle training we should remember to avoid hard to digest meals. There is nothing worse than a full and bloated belly, which rests on your thighs while pedalling. The body works best in constant cycles, so it is just as important to maintain a consistent daily schedule with meals and training at specific times as it is to have a good diet.
What gives you energy – what to eat while cycling?
Usually cycling workouts or cycling competitions last for more than two hours. Therefore, it is necessary to replenish energy during the exercise. This will make us able to pedal with the same intensity without unpleasant energy drops. Of course, in such situations it is best to reach for cycling nutrients, i.e. simple carbohydrates in the form of isotonic drink, energy gel, bar or banana, which is a favourite fruit of cyclists. The most important thing is not to oversleep the right moment – you should start taking food before you really need it. Optimally after 30-40 minutes from the start of the exercise.
- Bars for cyclists
In order not to make nutritional mistakes during the cycling effort, you need to know your body well. Cyclists who train regularly thanks to painful experiences know when it is best to drink and what to eat to have energy. Amateurs and less experienced cyclists can only act on their intuition. The easiest way is to carry energy bars for cyclists or energy gels, which contain a lot of quickly absorbed energy.
- Bike drink
An isotonic drink for cycling will also be helpful, but you need to have a feel for it. Excessive drinking of isotonic drinks can lead to conductivity, resulting in nausea and swelling of the extremities. It is much easier to become dehydrated than to become conductive, so if in doubt: it is better to drink than not to drink an isotonic drink.
What to eat after cycling training?
In order to fully regenerate your body after a long and intensive ride, you should eat a light carbohydrate snack immediately after training. An hour later it is recommended to eat a balanced meal that contains protein, fats and carbohydrates.
Supplements for cyclists
It is also worth remembering that during exercise we lose a lot of micro- and macroelements with sweat. To avoid running out of important minerals in your body, it’s a good idea to take supplements for cyclists. They can be the same supplements as those for runners and endurance athletes. However, the basis for maintaining the appropriate level of components needed for the proper work of our body is a varied diet rich in unprocessed food. So eat plenty of fresh vegetables, cereals and good fats such as olive oil.
Cycling is one of the most energy demanding sports. So it is worth analyzing the current way of eating and create a balanced nutrition plan by yourself or with the help of a dietician, just like we do with our workouts. The effects of a cycling diet will be appreciated by every cyclist!